Werewolf Jerusalem - Just Before Dawn [Burial Recordings - 2012]This CDR is a reissue of a long out of print 2005 release from this textured noise/ HNW project, which is one of the more known projects of multi project linked Texas noise legend Richard Ramirez.
The album original appeared in CDR form on Ramirez’s own DIY label Deadline Recordings in late summer 2005. It featured three tracks which ran between just under the four minute mark to just under the thirty minute mark. The original edition came in an envelope that featured black & white pasted on artwork. This new edition comes in a pro printed card sleeve which seemingly takes it’s artwork from one of the posters for 1981 backwoods slasher Just before Dawn, which this release is seemingly themed around.
Opening up the release we have “Part 1” which is the longest track here at the 28.55 mark. The track finds Ramirez building a dense yet fairly layer active slice of walled noise. The ‘wall’ starts off been built around a thick mixture of taut pressing aquatic muffled juddering, jittering bass scraped pile-ups, and mid-ranged rocket burnt juddering. At around the six minute a high pitch tweeting almost radio hazed buried Morse code element appears, along with a few other tones which suggest more controlled noise making. By the near on the eight mixture the high pitched element has disappeared & Ramirez has returned to the more muffled juddering ‘n’ jittering dense weaves of noise. By just before the tenth minute the tracks volume seems to pull right back, I’m not sure if this is the way it’s meant to sound or the transfer from the old crd went a little a miss. At the 13th minute the volume returns to normally as we get a nice mixture of sludgy juddering & mid ranged churning/cluttering. The rest of the track sees Ramirez subtle alter the layers of noise mixing together hues of lower to mid ranged noise with the odd dart into high toned noise, yet the whole track keeps the whole tense & weighty feel.
Track two “Part 2” is the baby of the bunch at the 3.59 mark. This tracks ‘wall’ is a built around a mass of battering/ pummelling static tone that seem to have been fed through a pipe; ever so often an harmonic line of jittering static meets the main texture in a most effective manner. Again this tracks volume seems to dips and weave a little bit here & there along it’s length, it not as bad as the first track, but I still found it noticeable.
Lastly we have “Part 3”, and this track comes in at 16.53 mark. It’s built around a dense mass of juddering tones that seem to weave out a dip or sunken in the middle type vibe, as if Ramirez’s has managed to carved a shape out of the thick & tense weaves of noise. Once again from time to time Ramirez’s feeds this almost harmonic like two step judder/ rumble through the track. In it’s last few minutes it locks down into a battering yet thick purring engine like churn ‘n’ judder. For me this is the most focused & effective of the three tracks, and there are no real dips in volume either.
“Just Before Dawn” is a worthy sonic illustration of Ramirez’s ability to skilful sculpted & manipulate dense texture static & noise to his will. The first two track are effective slices of his craft though they are let down a bit by the volume dips, but the 3rd track is great...and well worth pick-up for this alone.Roger Batty